Amsterdam-based artist Leonid Tsvetkov’s cityscape models make use of old motherboards (or what is left after valuable metals are stripped from them) and other computer innards. These models, depicting oil refineries and cityscapes dominated by large industrial complexes in muted hues, illustrate a quasi-dystopian environment.
In some works, the metals are rusted and the paint is chipped, amplifying this theme of the eventual deterioration that renders modern technological materials useless. In another sense, however, by recycling these materials Tsvetkov is suggesting that they can be made to have other uses, suggesting a more resourceful future.
Some of his models are even submerged in aquariums of sorts, surrounded by mysterious fungi that grimly resemble clouds of dark smoke or even natural phenomena such as tornadoes. In this sense, Tsvetkov alludes to the organisms that exist around and that are affected by the technology and machine-centric environments that facilitate modern living. As Tsvetkov describes it, “My work focuses on reshaping cultural waste and exploration of social and physical processes. I am interested in the moments where the hard edge geometry of the city becomes organic or there random activity begins to take a highly organized form.”
What I like most about Tsvetkov’s works is how much meaning lies in his use of the materials themselves. Not only do the models depict harshly industrial complexes and lots, but they do so with materials that draw attention to the ever-advancing world of computer technology. By using now ineffective and useless materials, once essential to the function of a computer product, Tsvetkov’s works illustrate that the constant improvements in the world of technology come at the price of the fast and consequential incompetency (and decreasing quality) of technological products.
Tsvetkov recently participated in the exhibit MärklinWorld at Kunsthal KAdE in the Netherlands, in which forty international contemporary artists who shared a demonstrated interest in depicting urban and rural landscapes contributed their work. Tsvetkov’s work was featured around a 60-metre model railway layout, where a train with a camera attached travelled. This gave visitors, who otherwise could only see the models from a bird’s eye view, a way to experience the landscapes as though they were passengers on the railway themselves.
Normally I’d suggest a site where you could learn more about Tsvetkov, but unfortunately there’s not much to pick from. If anyone has a tip-off on a biography or artist statement, send it our way! To see the article where I first found out about his work, click here.